Southeast Notes: Wizards, Heat, Hornets, Magic

After several years of mixed results when picking late in the lottery and in the middle of the first round, the Wizards should aggressively try to move up from No. 10 in this year’s draft, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues.

Aldridge suggests specifically targeting the No. 3 pick and making any assets besides Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis available, including a future first-round pick and some combination of recent first-rounders Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, and Corey Kispert. If the Rockets’ asking price is too steep, the Wizards should shift their focus to the No. 4 pick, says Aldridge.

I’m skeptical that the Wizards will be able to pry No. 3 away from Houston, given the relative consensus on the top three prospects in this year’s draft, and I’m not sure how eager they should be to give up any future first-round picks, given their current roster situation. But Aldridge believes it would be worth it to roll the dice to land a player like Paolo Banchero or Keegan Murray.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Heat won’t make any changes to their starting lineup for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference, head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters today (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). That means Kyle Lowry and Max Strus will continue to start, despite calls to bench them.
  • In a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer, Roderick Boone considers whether Deandre Ayton is a realistic free agent target for the Hornets, looks at where their head coaching search stands, and discusses what to expect from 2021 first-rounder Kai Jones going forward.
  • Kai Sotto, a draft-eligible center from the Philippines, had a workout with the Magic on Thursday, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Sotto played in Australia’s NBL last season after initially committing to the G League Ignite in 2020. He didn’t end up playing for the Ignite due to travel and COVID-19 complications.
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